Reader beware! In last week’s Readers Write column of the Yated, someone suggested a solution to the parnassa crisis by joining some MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) company making the latest rounds. Once again, I must warn all the readers that these MLMs have been tried since the time of Mesushelach and the only thing they will do for you is get you deeper into the quicksand and add to your pain and troubles.
I’m sure they’ll tell you that they are different than all the rest and provide you with names of people who are making millions. It’s time people realize that there is no treasure chest hidden at the end of the rainbow and the moon is not made out of cheese. There is no quick and easy way to riches unless you inherit it.
Many people were in Amway (also known as Scamway) for many years and never made the riches they were promised. The average monthly gross income for active distributors of Amway for January 1998 was $88. This was before expenses. Anyone who dangles a diamond-studded chain in front of your eyes is only trying to draw your attention. It’s like waving a red kerchief in front of a bull. We must never allow our greed and need for money to short-circuit our normal thinking process and common sense.
Unfortunately, many have lost both their time and life-savings by investing in these MLMs. For those who want to learn more about these so-called “get-rich-quick” schemes or MLMs, I suggest they read the book “Behind the Smoke and Mirrors,” by Ruth Carter, or “False Profits,” by Bob Fitzpatrick before investing their money.
While not all MLMs are the same, one should always consult his own accountant before investing his money and never rely on the advice of those who sell the product or franchise. It’s important that you find out what the average monthly gross income after expenses is for active distributors and what percentages of them have remained in the business for more than a year.
Don’t rely on the claims of a few who say they are making lots of money or tell you that you must work very hard at it in order to succeed. What they often fail to tell you is how much time you’ll actually have to put in, and how difficult it is to sell the product which is also being sold by many others, or how cheap you can buy a similar product in a local department store. More often than not, they will exaggerate the “miraculous” powers of their product, claiming that you can’t buy anything compatible anywhere else. One wonders why they don’t sell these miracle products in all stores.
Here’s a simple piece of advice to follow. If it sounds too good to be true, then stay away, don’t believe a word they say, and run the other way. Just because someone claims that it’s not an MLM doesn’t mean it’s not. If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck, no matter what anyone may call it! Not all that glitters is gold!
Sincerely, Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum